Ask the Author: Kathy Fish

What would you like readers to know about you? 

That’s such an interesting question and one I confess I’ve never thought about.   

Here are a few things about me that I think inform my writing: 

I’m a native Midwesterner. Large, Catholic, working class family. I was the only girl in a family with seven brothers. I’ve lived in the DC area, Australia, and Colorado (where I live now and have for 19 years). I came late to writing seriously. My first story was published when I was 40. I do not have an academic background in writing, but I teach for a low-residency MFA program. I love teaching as much as I love writing and lately, I’m doing way more teaching than writing.  

What is Wild Life: Collected Works about for those who haven’t read it? 

This is a collection of what I feel are my best stories from the last 15 years of writing flash fiction. Some of the stories are from my other books (the original Wild Life, my chapbook in A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness, Together We Can Bury It, and Rift, a book I co-authored with Robert Vaughan). There are new stories here as well.  

What has been your inspiration for writing Wild Life: Collected Works? 

Life itself, I guess! My background, my growing up, etc.  

What was your favorite scene or part of Wild Life: Collected Works to write? 

I guess this question applies more to novels, but I’d say in this collection, it was the stories I wrote when I was at my most productive and inspired. The early stuff that now kind of astounds me. I mean, I wrote a lot of bad stuff in the same period, but the ones included in this book still make me proud.   

What books or authors inspired you to become a writer? 

After the first session of my very first writing class, when I lived in Australia, I felt so excited and energized and inspired. I walked into a bookstore and bought Best American Short Stories, 1998 edited by Garrison Keillor. Now I’m not a huge Garrison Keillor fan, but man did he ever pick some great stories. Reading stories by Poe Ballantine, Kathryn Chetkovich, Diane Schoemperlen, Maxine Swann, and more just woke me right up. I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.   

What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book? 

Just read a lot. Write a lot. Remember that the best “ideas” come from the act of writing itself. Find your way into your own voice and trust it. There’s no one with your particular vision. Honor that.  


Kathy Fish has published five collections of short fiction, most recently Wild Life: Collected Works from 2003-2018, from Matter Press. Her award-winning short stories, prose poems, and flash fictions have been published in Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, Electric Literature, Guernica, and elsewhere. Her poem/flash fiction hybrid piece, “Collective Nouns for Humans in the Wild,” will appear in an upcoming edition of The Norton Reader. Additionally, this piece was selected for Best American Nonrequired Reading 2018 by Sheila Heti and by Aimee Bender for Best Small Fictions 2018. Fish’s work is also featured in the 2017 and 2016 editions of Best Small Fictions. She is a core faculty member for the Mile High MFA at Regis University in Denver, Colorado, and teaches her own intensive online flash workshop, Fast Flash©. 



Wild Life: Collected Works from 2003-2018 may be purchased at the following places: 

My website! (U.S. only) For a personally inscribed copy: 

Through Matter Press: 

And Amazon: 

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